Following Vitality's qualification for the BLAST.tv Paris Major, BLIX’s Hugo “TheSwedishJoker” Nilsson Meier sat down with Vitality's star Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut to discuss the team's route to qualification, playing with JACKZ in ESL Pro League, and the team's expectations for the upcoming Major on home soil, among other topics.
Hugo "TheSwedishJoker" Nilsson Meier, BLIX.GG: Congratulations on qualifying for the Paris Major. I wanted to start by going over your surprising loss against 9INE. What do you think went wrong in that game?
Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut: I guess 9INE actually played really well, and I think most likely they wanted it more than us, that’s why they upset. They wanted it more than us, we were stressed because of course we wanted to be qualified, but we just didn’t play our game, that’s what I’d like to say.
We tried to play individually, but that didn’t work for the Major because for the Major the team that wants it more is going to win it. I think 9INE just wanted it more this time, so that’s it.
BLIX: You’re going to be playing G2 or Cloud9 in the tiebreakers for a spot in the Legends Stage. What is the preparation like going into that game, and did it differ from the one you had against 9INE?
ZywOo: We’re just going to prepare normally, we’re not going to prepare that much or overthink, we’re just going to play our game like we did against BIG. Okay, we lost Mirage but the beginning of Mirage, it wasn’t Vitality!
But yeah, we’re just not going to overthink and play our game, that’s what’s working for us. We lost against 9INE because we didn’t play our game, but most likely when we feel it, when we want to game, we’re just going to play our game and destroy everyone. So, we’re not going to prepare that much, and that’s it.
BLIX: Do you have any personal preference on who you’d rather play in the tiebreaker?
ZywOo: I don’t care because both of the teams are really good for the moment. Cloud9 showed a really good face, and G2 did as well. I think G2 was the best team in the world since the beginning of the year so actually, it doesn’t matter.
Both of the teams have a good AWPer, good aimers, Ax1le and NiKo, Sh1ro, and m0nesy, so both teams are good. Either way, it’s going to be tough!
BLIX: Going into the last CS:GO Major, you’ve always been compared to a Major MVP like Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostilyev, while you don’t have a medal. Does that put a little bit more pressure going into the last CS:GO Major, especially since it’s in Paris?
ZywOo: Actually, it doesn’t put me under pressure or stress, because this is the last CS:GO Major but we’re going to play CS2 anyways, this is almost the same game. But of course, what could put me under pressure is more likely [that] I want to play in front of the French crowd.
That’s most likely what I’ll have more pressure for, not because it’s the last Major for CS:GO. I just want to play in front of my family, that’s all I want, and also for the French guys, just that.
BLIX: You had to field Audric “JACKZ” Jug as a stand-in in Malta because Peter “Dupreeh” Rasmussen became a father. Has this change in his life affected the preparation? How do you manage the time compared to before?
ZywOo: Actually, nothing changed, we have almost the same schedule. It’s not because he had a baby, we still have the same practice, and we still have the same schedule. So nothing changed, because of the baby or not, and even with JACKZ, it was the same schedule.
BLIX: The goal for this French-Danish super team was clear from the beginning: winning the Major. You have a French organization behind you and the Major is going to be played in Paris. Are these factors putting even more pressure on you coming into the Major?
ZywOo: No! Of course, it’s the Major and you have a bit of pressure, but not really, for me, this is a normal Major. I don’t have more pressure on this one than on the other ones. It’s hard to say because right now we qualified for Paris, but for me for the moment it’s fine, I don’t have that much pressure even for the next game, so no, not really.
I feel good, we won, so for the moment, I’m not thinking about the next game.
Credit: BLAST/Michal Konkol
BLIX: The Major is only one month away. Have you seen yourself on any advertisements or posters around France, like the ones we saw in Katowice in the past?
ZywOo: Yeah, like Rio for example! But no, I work in Paris and nothing happened, even on Twitter. I’m not going on Twitter often but I didn’t see anything. Maybe now that we’ve qualified, they’re going to do something in Paris, but for the moment nothing changed.
There are no posters, nothing on the Eiffel Tower or the big monuments, there’s nothing! Maybe when we’re gonna be closer.
BLIX: In the previous Majors the Vitality core never made it to the top four. Do you think there is some kind of mental block preventing you from making it through the quarterfinals of the Major? If not, why do you think you have been unable to make a semifinal?
ZywOo: Actually, I have no good answer for that because if I had it, I would be in the final! But yeah, what I like to say is “It’s the Major”, you have all the pressure, and if you don’t deal with that it’s going to be hard anyways... I have no perfect answer for that because it’s so tough.
Anytime you play a Major you have to be 100%, you have to play every game at 100% because the team that wants it more is going to win it. That’s what I think because you can have the best aim, the best In-Game Leader, and the best AWPer, but the team that wants it the most is going to win it. That’s my new mindset now, I want to fucking win every match I go to now!
BLIX: I wanted to talk a little bit about JACKZ. We have always seen him in G2 as a positive influence on the team, a hype man. How was he for you guys, was he the same? How did you guys welcome him into the team?
ZywOo: Actually, apEX and, we knew him before he joined the team because he’s French, so we played some FACEIT with him. We saw him at small LANs in France, so we kind of knew his personality before he joined Vitality. We kinda knew how to deal with him, so it was really easy to manage to deal with him. Having him, his personality, to put him on his good roles, fucking easy.
I don’t know how to say it but [snaps fingers] it was really like this. One day I feel like he was playing with us for two months because he was really good at listening. We put him in a good situation, and I think he was feeling good as well with us. It was really easy.
BLIX: Was he your first choice, or did you have some other players in mind, even in case he wouldn’t play with you?
ZywOo: No, actually he was our first pick, because we knew what we missed with a few other players, and we felt like he could be a good soldier for us. Actually, we kind of knew really fast who to pick, and he was our first choice.
BLIX: Talking about CS2, have you been able to play the beta yet?
ZywOo: Not really, I did one matchmaking, but I didn’t play a lot. I don’t know if something changed or anything, I have no clue! I’m just focused on CS:GO right now.
BLIX: Have you been able to at least gather some thought by watching clips online, as they were all over CS Twitter?
ZywOo: Actually I have seen nothing! [laughs] Nothing! I’m really focused on CS:GO right now, so I didn’t see any clip or anything. Oh yeah, I saw a clip on Dust2 with the spam from CT to Short with the AWP! It was a crazy thing, but only that.
BLIX: You are qualified for the Major, but you still have to play a tiebreaker. How do you think you’ll celebrate tonight?
ZywOo: It’s not over for us so we’re not really going to celebrate, we’re going to focus on the next matches against G2 or Cloud9. So yeah, we’re going to be focused, we’re not going to celebrate or anything.
Feature Image Credit: BLAST/Michal Konkol